Wednesday 22 February 2017
Photos Helen, Joan an Mary T
Inspired by an article and photo in the local Narooma and Moruya papers last year, Bob took us on a walk of discovery to see one of Moruya’s “best kept secrets”, Louttit’s pioneering granite quarry on the south side of Moruya river.
Despite the hot day, a keen bunch of bushwalkers enjoyed a shady walk from Preddys wharf, meandered by the waterfront, over private property (with permission) and around the granite outcrops before returning to Louttit’s granite quarry, which from our angle of approach was quite dramatic, revealing the sheer granite rock face.
On the way we came across a couple of Orb weaving spiders on their webs and received a warm welcome from the local mosquito population.
At the quarry, Bob T provided us with a brief history of the area written by Norman Moore, a local historian.
Moruya was the first port from which gold was shipped in Australia, but it also once had at least seven different granite quarries during the mid 1800s.
Well, we all know of the quarry on the north side of the river and granite from this area was used to create many fine blocks for buildings, including the cladding for the pylons of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
However, Louttit’s quarry produced “long grained” granite suitable for column work and so from when it was opened in 1858 by Joseph and John Louttit, supplied among other things, 24 columns for St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, the bases for statues of Captain Cook and Queen Victoria in Sydney, stone for Sydney’s Custom House, Canberra’s foundation stone, and, in Moruya, the Bank of New South Wales.
In order to make these structures, a large lathe was required to cut the stones (often weighing in excess of 12 tons) and this is housed next to the Moruya Historical Society building in Campbell Street.
As mentioned, the granite rock face was impressive, but so too was the raised tramway built in order to transport the stone to the boats for shipping elsewhere. We also heard of the use of shark oil for rheumatism and of the accidents that occurred during quarrying in this era.
Thanks Bob T for a very interesting, historical walk.